Humanitarian Affairs

02 June 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks to the Yemen Pledging Conference

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, assalamu alaikum. 

I thank the Government of Saudi Arabia for co-hosting this pledging event, and for your continued commitment to the humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen. 

And I thank the many governments and representatives demonstrating their solidarity with the Yemeni people, who have suffered so much, and who now face the additional threat of COVID-19. 

30 April 2020, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at virtual press briefing from UN Headquarters

Dear journalists, good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be back with you, if only virtually, to be able to update you on what we have been doing. 

COVID-19 continues its path of worsening destruction. 

We mourn the lives lost – more than 200,000. 

We despair that many more will follow, particularly in places least able to cope. 

25 March 2020, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at launch of Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19

The world faces an unprecedented threat.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly covered the globe. It has spread suffering, disrupted billions of lives and endangered the global economy.

COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.

Wealthy countries with strong health systems are buckling under the pressure.

Now, the virus is arriving in countries already in the midst of humanitarian crises caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change. 

28 February 2020, Security Council

Remarks to the Security Council on Syria

I would like to say a few words to express my deep concern with what I believe is the changing nature of the conflict in Idlib.
The Council is well aware of the dramatic humanitarian situation in the region, namely, following the most recent offensive.
But beyond the dramatic humanitarian situation, I think it's important to acknowledge that the conflict has changed in its nature. And we have witnessed a very meaningful escalation in the last few days.

21 February 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks to the press on the situation in Syria

We are all aware of the unfolding crisis in northwest Syria and the terrible human toll on civilians.  
Nearly 900,000 people – the vast majority women and children – have fled in the latest fighting under the most tragic circumstances.  Hundreds have been killed.  Many have been uprooted multiple times.  Young children are freezing to death.
The fighting is now advancing into areas with the highest concentrations of people – including the displaced – and threatening to strangle humanitarian lifelines.  

17 February 2020, Islamabad

Remarks at the Centre for International Peace and Stability on "Future Challenges to Global Peace: The Role of the United Nations vis-a-vis A4P

Dear Members of the Faculty,
Dear students,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to ask you to join me in paying tribute to the heroic 157 Pakistani peacekeepers that sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. So, I would ask you please to join me in a moment of silence.
Thank you. I am very proud to be a colleague of theirs.

16 February 2020, Islamabad

Opening remarks to the press with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan

It is a pleasure to be back in Pakistan – a country deeply committed to multilateralism and the United Nations.

This is my first visit as Secretary-General of the United Nations, but as High Commissioner for Refugees, I had the opportunity – I was fortunate — to be able to visit this country several times.

And as I said this afternoon in the conference on sustainable development and climate change, what I’ve seen — the generosity and solidarity with the Afghan people — has created a love affair between the [Pakistani] people and myself.

17 February 2020, Islamabad

Remarks to the High-Level Segment of the International Conference on Hosting 40 Years of Afghan Refugees

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the International Conference on 40 Years of Hosting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, in Islamabad. UN Photo/Mark Garten

As-salam alaikum.

We come together to recognize a remarkable story of solidarity and compassion.

It is important to do so for many reasons, not least because it is a story that is sorely lacking in much of our world today.

For forty years, the people of Afghanistan have faced successive crises.

For forty years, the people of Pakistan have responded with solidarity.

That generosity now spans across decades and generations.

This is the world’s largest protracted refugee situation in recorded history.

17 February 2020, Islamabad

Opening remarks at joint press briefing with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

I’ll have a very brief message. First to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for the generosity and hospitality of the Pakistanis, for having received for 40 years millions of Afghan refugees.

17 January 2020, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Wreath-laying Ceremony marking the Tenth Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti

(All-English version; scroll down for all-French and biligual as delivered versions)

We are here together today to honour the memory of the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their lives in the devastating earthquake on the 12th of January 2010, and to express our condolences and solidarity with the millions who continue to suffer the impact of this tragedy.

When the earthquake struck, many Haitians were starting the new year with a sense of renewed optimism and trust in the future of their country.